Nothing Personal, Boomer Sociopaths.
by, 03-07-2017 at 10:32 AM (508 Views)
"EVEN BEFORE the election, Americans were asking just how we got here — to this sullen moment of national reckoning. Since November, the autopsy has dragged on so long it seems there could be nothing left to dissect. But the search continues, because no truly satisfying answer has yet been offered. Deplorables, deportables, economic malaise, rural resentment, coastal hauteur whatever — these are just symptoms. The root illness remains undiagnosed, but here it is: the baby boomers, that vast generation of Americans born in the first two decades after World War II. The body politic rests on the slab because boomers put it there, because decades of boomerism produced the problems and disaffection of which 2016 was merely the latest expression.
It’s a shocking hypothesis, but then again, America has suffered a shocking decline. In 1971, Alan Shepard was playing golf on the moon. Today, America can’t put a man into orbit (or, allegedly, the Oval Office) without Russian assistance. Something changed, and that something was the boomers and the sociopathic agenda they emplaced.
My indictment of boomers may seem overbroad, but the thesis is quite specific: the unusual prevalence of sociopathy in an unusually large generation. How does that disorder manifest? Improvidence is reflected in low levels of savings and high levels of bankruptcy. Deceit shows up as a distaste for facts, a subject on display in everything from Enron’s quarterly reports to daily press briefings. Interpersonal failures and unbridled hostility appeared in unusually high levels of divorce and crime from the 1970s to early 1990s. These problems expressed themselves at generationally unique levels in boomers, to a greater extent than in boomers’ parents or children at comparable ages. (My forthcoming book lays out all these data in detail.)
Boomers weren’t genetically predestined to be dysfunctional; they were conditioned to be. They were the first generation to be raised permissively, the first reared on television and subject to its developmental harms, and the only living group raised in an era of seemingly effortless prosperity. Can too much license, TV, and unearned wealth distort personalities? May I suggest looking south toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
THE BOOMERS’ sociopathic inclinations might be of sociological, but not political, interest except for one fact: Boomers have a lot of voting power. Although boomers peaked at just over half the voting age population in the early 1980s, their influence kept growing as they voted more frequently, unleashed a flood of political money, and elected co-generationalists, all in reckless pursuit of the sociopathic agenda. In the 1970s, the older establishment had already begun bending to boomer power, though not always cravenly enough, a problem boomers resolved by becoming the establishment itself. Boomers’ notable early achievement was electing Bill Clinton, who began the long saga that meandered through Bush II and ends — well, who knows how exactly it will end?"